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5-2-1-0 WINS!

By Lauren Kollauf on Monday, December 16, 2019

Warren County challenged to spread 5-2-1-0 countywide

After seeing success in funding 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! projects in individual communities across Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced in FY19 it would fund its first county-wide initiative in Warren County.

Warren County Health Services received $38,000 and was charged with promoting 5-2-1-0  within all of the communities it serves. Warren County is part of the Des Moines Metropolitan Area and is a mix of rural areas and three larger communities: Norwalk, Carlisle and Indianola. 

MORE 5-2-1-0 WINS: Manning | Clinton | Mount Ayr | Keosauqua | Mason City

The county formed a 5-2-1-0 Steering Committee which became a part of the Warren County Wellness Coalition, a group of individuals representing businesses, health care and citizens of Warren County who were already meeting bi-monthly to enhance  overall health and wellness.

warren county event

To help spread the message county-wide, the 5-2-1-0 Steering Committee first partnered with the community organizations including the Hometown Pride teams, Indianola YMCA, Indianola Parks & Recreation Department, ISU Extension and 4-H and the City of Norwalk to promote 5-2-1-0 during special events. 5-2-1-0 educational materials and promotional items were provided to help engage families.  

In addition to community events, the Warren County 5-2-1-0 Steering Committee decided to target three sectors:

Health Care

Dr. Jennifer Groos, MD, helped to lead the outreach efforts to engage all of the health care clinics in Warren County. Six clinics, with a total of 31 providers were reached with the potential to impact 13,500 children county-wide.

"It was an effort to improve the health of the county across health care systems. It was exciting to bring then together under a common message," said Dr. Groos. "A lot of them felt that 5-2-1-0 filled the needs that patients and families were facing because is an easy message they could incorporate into their workflows."

warren county clinic

All six clinics signed up as a 5-2-1-0 Registered Health Care Site and received a 5-2-1-0 bucket full of educational materials, fruit and vegetable tracker bands, community resources and more. Dr. Groos, in coordination with United Way of Central Iowa and Blank Children's Hospital, are still working with the clinics in Warren County to provide technical support and resources, when needed.

Early Care

Five early care providers in Warren County – including two child care centers and three in-home providers – received funds to complete 5-2-1-0 projects. Lynn Wente, child care nurse consultant for Warren County, assisted in the engagement of early care providers and implementation of their projects.

Most chose to purchase equipment and materials that would increase physical activity opportunities for their children, including life-sized board games, indoor/outdoor play equipment, backyard improvements, and a large stroller.

"(Indianola Preschool) had limited space and didn’t have a very exciting outdoor playground before," said Wente. "So they were excited to receive a new teeter-totter."

In addition to purchasing play equipment, Wildcat ABC Child Care Center in Carlisle partnered with EveryStep to provide their summer staff with wellness training and education, as well as incentive items to get them excited about incorporating the 5-2-1-0 message with the children.


All of the early care providers signed up as 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Registered Sites so they can continue to work on action planning and goals. Wente is also attending a 5-2-1-0 Train the Trainer program with EveryStep in January 2020 so that she can continue to implement the 5-2-1-0 message at the early care sites she visits. 


Warren County was able to engage both the Norwalk and Carlisle school districts in their 5-2-1-0 efforts. Lyn Jenkins, a community health 5-2-1-0 coordinator through EveryStep, assisted the schools with their goal setting and action planning. Schools within both districts have also signed up as 5-2-1-0 Registered Sites to aid in sustainability of the program.

After surveying teachers and staff, Norwalk decided to invest in flexible seating for their students. "Flexible seating in the classroom is intended to increase physical activity throughout the day," Jenkins said. "Standing desks or other flexible seating options allow students to move their bodies while learning."

Carlisle decided that increasing access to water was a priority for their middle school. The district pooled 5-2-1-0 and district funds to install multiple water bottle filling stations. Students were also provided 5-2-1-0 water bottles. Carlisle has also added flexible seating, in the form of standing tables, in their cafeteria area.

Learn more about 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! 

logo5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a health-focused movement for kids that’s under the nationally recognized program, 5-2-1-0. It all starts by encouraging them to eat and play the right way.

This proven, scientific method helps keep kids healthy by focusing on the importance of four habits:

  • 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less of screen time (television, computer, video games, phones, etc.)
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • 0 (or reduce) sugar-sweetened beverages - drink more water!

To learn more about how you can get your community, workplace, school, health care clinic or child care site involved in 5-2-1-0, click here.